Instagram is one of the biggest social platforms owned by the tech behemoth, Meta (formerly Facebook). It is home to millions of users and hundreds of businesses. Its popularity also means that it is getting harder to moderate and monitor suspicious accounts.
Over the years, the numbers of “Bot” accounts have increased dramatically on the platform. To combat the alarming number of bots on the platform, Instagram is requesting video selfies from suspected bots to authenticate their identities.
Suspected Bots Need to Submit Video Selfies
According to screenshots released to Twitter by social media experts, Instagram is requiring some users to produce a video selfie displaying different angles of their face to verify that they’re a real person. Bot accounts, which can send spam messages, harass users, or be used to artificially inflate like or follower counts, have long been a problem for the social network. In a follow-up tweet, Instagram, which is owned by Meta, says it’s asking suspicious accounts to prove they’re real people, not bots.
According to XDA Developers, Instagram began testing the functionality last year but ran across technical difficulties – the business claims to have “launched video selfies more than a year ago.” Several customers have stated that they were recently prompted to record a video selfie to validate their current accounts.
Instagram announced on Twitter that accounts with questionable activity (such as rapidly following a large number of profiles) may be requested to take a video selfie. Instagram also stated that the tool does not utilize facial recognition and that the videos are reviewed by Instagram personnel. According to Instagram, “one of the ways” video selfies are utilized is to assist combat bots, but the platform is open to alternative possibilities.
Given Meta’s recent revelation that one of its Face Recognition services would be shut down, the move may come as a surprise to some. However, the business has subsequently clarified that it was simply shutting down a single Facebook function, not Meta’s entire usage of face recognition. Despite this, Instagram has stated that the video selfie function would not utilize face recognition and that the video will be erased after 30 days.
Meta’s guarantee that the data will not be stored or SMS shared may not be enough to comfort some users who are already wary of Meta / Facebook. The company may have changed its name but people still remember the multiple scandals the tech giant was involved including the infamous entanglement with Cambridge Analytica. When the company first announced its name changed, people went to Twitter to remind Facebook (now Meta), that they may have changed their name but the distrust is still there.
People may recall a glitch that allowed attackers to gain access to Instagram users’ purportedly private birthday information, which you’ll be needed to disclose to use the service with only a DM shortly. Of course, Instagram hasn’t pledged to destroy that birthday information as it has with the video selfie, but it’s hard to blame anyone, particularly children or those who want to remain anonymous, for being hesitant to provide such information if asked.